A UT researcher’s conclusion that remains found on a remote South Pacific island were likely those of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart made headlines around the world this spring. Richard Jantz, professor emeritus of anthropology and director emeritus of the Forensic Anthropology Center, used modern quantitative techniques to re-examine bone measurements conducted in 1940 by physician D.W. Hoodless.
Although Hoodless had concluded that the bones belonged to a man, Jantz found that they have more similarity to Earhart than to 99 percent of individuals in a large reference sample. Jantz’s findings were reported in dozens of media outlets, including Time, the Telegraph (UK), China Post, Inside Edition, NBC, National Geographic, National Public Radio, ABC, Newsweek, the New York Post, the Economist, the New York Daily News, Town & Country, the Boston Globe and Popular Mechanics.
Davis Takes Helm as Interim Chancellor
Wayne T. Davis, former dean of the Tickle College of Engineering, was appointed interim chancellor on May 3. Davis has served in faculty and administrative roles at UT for 44 years.
“It is always unsettling when there is a sudden change in a senior leadership position within the university, and this situation is no exception,” Davis says. “The University of Tennessee holds a special place in my heart. As an alumnus, a faculty member and an administrator, I have been committed to this great university and its journey toward excellence for more than 45 years. I am deeply honored to be asked to serve in this interim role as the university identifies the next steps toward its search for a new chancellor.”
Niswonger Awarded Honorary Degree
Noted aviation executive and philanthropist Scott Niswonger received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the Haslam College of Business commencement in May. It was the 19th honorary degree awarded by UT. Using logistics to create efficient shipping and delivery services, Niswonger founded Landair in 1981 and Forward Air Corporation in 1990. Today, those two companies’ annual sales top $1 billion. Niswonger is the lead benefactor of Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City and the primary donor behind Niswonger Performing Arts Centers in his native Van Wert, Ohio, and his adopted home of Greeneville, Tennessee. Through the Niswonger Foundation, he supports programs that prepare students in the region for postsecondary education and employment.